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FEMA offers tips on staying prepared for weather disasters

Tornadoes may end up causing massive destruction to homes, property, and infrastructure. Typically, tornadoes cause the greatest damage to structures of light construction, including residential dwellings and particularly manufactured homes.

Mitigation measures are available to improve personal safety and reduce or eliminate the risk of future damage to structures and personal property. FEMA building specialists can give information on how to repair, retrofit, or rebuild to be safer and stronger before the next disaster.

Roof failures are a common cause of major damage to buildings and their contents from high winds. There are mitigation measures that can be taken to reduce potential roof damage.

These mitigation measures include:

  • Designing wind-resistant roofs
  • Reinforcing gable roof ends
  • Securing sheathing properly
  • Installing shingles properly

Exterior doors and windows are the weakest parts of a structure’s outer shell. If they are broken or blown in, high winds can enter a structure and create internal pressures which act on the roof and walls, resulting in serious damage. Once the structure is breached, wind, debris, and rain can damage the interior of the structure or injure any person inside.

Breach point mitigation measures include:

  • Reinforcing garage doors
  • Securing double-entry doors
  • Installing impact-resistant glass

Always check with local building official before beginning any repairs or rebuilding

  • Building codes, permits, inspection requirements, and zoning ordinances may be involved.
  • A floodplain ordinance will affect rebuilding when the structure has sustained substantial damage and is situated in a floodplain.

Building officials will reinforce the point that only licensed professionals are qualified to perform structural repair or structural mitigation work.

FEMA mitigation specialist are available to talk to survivors about their damage and discuss how to best repair their homes on the Mitigation Helpline. Survivors can call 833-336-2487 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Central Time. Survivors may leave a voicemail at any time or email FEMAR4-HMHELP@FEMA.DHS.GOV. For information on Alabama’s disaster recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4684. Follow FEMA on Twitter at FEMA Region 4 (@femaregion4) / Twitter and at facebook.com/fema.